10 Time-Smart Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Fill the sink

Clean up faster with these helpful hacks.

Cooking, baking, eating: Those are kitchen activities we can get behind. Cleanup? Well, that's a different story. No one really loves to clean up the messes that all those meals leave behind. Follow these 10 insights to shave precious minutes off your clean-kitchen routine.

Wear an apron. Protecting your clothes from tough-to-get-out stains (and giving yourself a quick spot to wipe your hands) is a good way to keep messes from spreading. Opt for an apron that falls to at least knee height.

Empty the dishwasher. Start every cooking or baking adventure with an empty dishwasher, which enables you to...

Load as you go. Done with a bowl, a measuring cup, a spatula? Tuck it right in that empty dishwasher so you save both counter space and cleanup time at the end.

Fill the sink. In addition to an empty dishwasher, you should start with a full sink—full of hot, soapy water, that is. You may have a very messy dish or an oddly-sized pot that's easier to soak and hand wash once you're done with it.

Cover up. If you're cooking something that might splatter, consider covering it as much as possible, either with a lid or a splatter guard (which is inexpensive and easy to find). You won't totally eliminate messes, but you will help to contain them.

Cover up

Collect your scraps. Lots of chopping and prepping equals lots of food waste, including the tops of vegetables and fruit peels. Instead of shoving them from cutting board to countertop, place those scraps in a bowl or on a large plate, which enables you to quickly dump them in the trash when you're done.

Banish counter clutter. Mail, keys, homework: Find a spot for them other than your cook-and-prep area. You'll have more room to work, and your kitchen will feel less chaotic.

Evaluate your trash. Do you do daily battle with the growing number of throw-away items in your kitchen? You may need better trash solutions—a bigger container, more options for recyclables, or even a compost bin.

Stock up on cleaning tools. Keep the essentials that you rely on—cleaning rags, your preferred soap or disinfecting spray—on hand and in easy reach so you can wipe up spills as they happen.

Reserve 5 minutes. At the end of the day—even after cleanup is all done—take stock of your kitchen just for five minutes. Could the backsplash use a quick wipe-down? Did you miss a spill on the floor? The few additional minutes spent will help keep your kitchen as clean as possible.

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